Dining at Disney – The Boathouse

My husband made yesterday’s reservations based on a recommendation from a friend. It is one of the new restaurants located in Disney Springs and it is right on the water. They have a collection of vintage Amphicars (they go straight from the road into the water) that you can take tours of the lake on. The evening was nice, so we elected to sit outside and enjoy the view. We began our meal with wine and bread.


They have a very good raw bar and we elected to have a dozen oysters as a starter, on a good/bad note the raw bar was so backed up that they didn’t arrive until our meal, but the manager made it more than right and they were really good. We had selected the Lucky Dux oysters which are harvested in Massachusetts for the Boathouse. They were served with a classic cocktail sauce loaded with horseradish and a cucumber mignonette (cucumber, garlic, lime, oil); I could not decide which complemented them better. 

For the table, my husband ordered Truffle Fries with Lemon Aioli; we rarely eat fries so these were a treat, even more so since they were tossed the the truffle oil and freshly minced garlic and parsley. They did however deliver a huge bowl of these, since we have plenty left I am considering turning them into hash browns or making a hash with those and the shrimp (see next paragraph) this morning. I thought I had a better picture, this will have to suffice.

Concerned about the portion sizes after looking around I selected a cup of Maine Lobster Bisque and the Firecracker Shrimp appetizer as my dinner (especially in consideration of the oysters and fries). I was right and still brought back over half of the shrimp. (I still need to get lobster bisque into my recipes.) The shrimp really were deserving of their name; I had been looking for some spicy food and these delivered. The shrimp are very lightly fried with sliced Serrano and sweet peppers, and then tossed in the sriracha mayo; wow.


My husband selected the New Smyrna Beach Wild Cobia from their daily fish features; it was cooked perfectly and well complemented by the roasted vegetables.  

My youngest select the Grilled Fresh Fish Tacos, which arrived with huge chunks of fish (we forgot to ask the variety) and avocado along with a jalapeño-lime crema. He simply devoured the plate and commented that they were amazing. He did have enough space to help me with a few shrimp, taste my husband’s cobia, and devour some fries.

My eldest, with the fish allergy, selected the Grilled Sea of Cortez Shrimp & Grits. Somehow I didn’t get to taste this either, he said it was delicious and that the grits were amazing.

This was certainly some of the best seafood we have had, not only at Disney, and we will be returning!



Red Pozole

I promised my sister another weeknight recipe. And this is certainly easy, the trick is it takes 2 hours to simmer. My son had a fundraiser for his lacrosse team on a night I had time to cook. The following day was karate with no time, so this was a perfect fit in the meal plan. 

I did all the work so that it could simmer while we were gone; the smell when we got home was amazing! We were already excited to have dinner the next day.

I saved this recipe a few years ago, and I’m very glad I did since the link I downloaded it from no longer contains the recipe. The recipe calls for either country ribs or pork shoulder, use a boneless pork shoulder if you are in a hurry, but otherwise the ribs add a unique element with a mix of loin and rib meat.

As usual, I gathered all of my ingredients.

And before cleaning the meat I used my cutting board and favorite knife on the veggies. The soup doesn’t end up hot, just flavorful, but the peppers can be hot; if you don’t want the residue on your hands, wear gloves to pull off the stems and shake out the seeds. 

The onion only needs to be coarsest chopped.


Then I seared the peppers in a hot dry pan and set them aside to cool. 


And when I could touch them I crumbled them into my blender and then poured boiling water over them to soften them. 


In the same pan that I roasted the peppers, I sautéed the onions and minced garlic.


When they were soft and nicely colored from the chili peppers, I added them to the peppers. 


Blending them to a purée, yielded a beautiful thick sauce.


I started to clean the meat while the onions softened, but had to stop a few times. Once you make the sauce it can sit while you finish cleaning the pork. You can see each had a wedge of bone in the middle; I used about 4.5 pounds of bone-in ribs to get 3 pounds of meat. 

I cooked the pork in 2 batches, each seasoned with cumin, salt, and pepper. 


When both batches were done I returned them all to the pan and added in the purée and chicken stock. (Hint: Use the chicken stock to rinse your blender.) Then add in the rinsed hominy and oregano. 


Once it came to a boil, I reduced it to a simmer and came home to this beautiful pot of soup. 

For toppings, I shredded a block of queso fresco and shredded a few radishes. 



When I finally got to taste it the following day with my cucumber G&T, it was perfect.

Warming Red Pozole

Soups Stews etc., Tested and Approved!
Makes 10 to 12 ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Epicurious.com | Food52 | February 2015


  • 4 dried New Mexico chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder or country style ribs, cut into ¾” cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cans hominy, drained and rinsed
  • Water


  • Cabbage, shredded finely
  • Radishes, sliced thinly
  • Limes, quartered for squeezing
  • Avocado, cut into small chunks
  • Tortilla chips or corn tortillas
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Crumbled queso fresco or your cheese of choice


Toast chiles in a dry pan over high heat for a few minutes until slightly browned. As you heat them, they should puff up, soften, and become fragrant. Remove from pan, let cool, and cut or tear roughly. Pour 1 cup boiling water over them to soften them for 15 minutes.

Add oil to a large, heavy pot and turn the flame to medium high. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions have softened and colored. Remove from heat and add them to the blender with the chiles and their liquid. Purée until smooth.

Put pot back on high heat and brown the pork in two batches. Add 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper to each batch as the pieces brown. 

Add all pork back to pot along with chile liquid, chicken stock, oregano, and hominy. The liquid should completely cover the pork. (Add more stock if necessary.) Bring to boil then lower to simmer. Cover the pot and cook the stew over low heat for 2 hours.

While the pozole cooks, get toppings ready.

To serve: Ladle pozole into bowl. Top with cabbage, radishes, and any other toppings. Squeeze a healthy dose of lime juice into your bowl and dig in!


This recipe was originally published on Food52 as “Warming Red Pozole”.

Beef and Barley Soup

Due to a grocery shopping error I have a lot of barley on hand, so I have been thinking of what to do with this abundance.

As I did my planning for this week, I opted against our usual Monday night pizza in favor of beef and barley soup so that I could avoid the mad rush for pizza on Halloween night. I looked up several recipes and couldn’t find one that I liked. Many of them looked bland, appeared to skimp on the meat, or in general didn’t look hearty.

So I picked up what looked good and set myself to making something I would enjoy. I gathered my ingredients (ignore the tomato paste I grabbed in my photo-taking haste and pretend it’s garlic).


I started by prepping my vegetables (mainly so that I could use my favorite knife for all of my chopping). I chopped the onion with my food processor so that I didn’t have watery eyes.

And then I peeled and sliced the parsnips and carrots.

And sliced the celery.

Dried mushrooms (morel and porcini) caught my eye, but it’s important to remember that they are still dirty. I brushed them hard to remove the dirt, and then cleaned the board and chopped them to use as a coating on the beef.

I also used a mix of fresh wild mushrooms, that I rinsed well.


Last, I trimed then cubed the beef. I prefer meat in soups to be very lean so that you don’t bite into anything tough. Once I cleaned it, I seasoned it with salt and pepper, then my chopped dried mushrooms (unfortunately forgetting to take the picture with the mushrooms).

I started with the mushrooms, mincing the garlic into them and cooking them on medium high heat until they were golden.

I set the mushrooms aside and browned the beef.


Then I set aside the beef with the mushrooms and set to cooking my vegetables. I seasoned them with pepper and added the sprigs of thyme. I continued to cook them about 5 minutes until the onion was just tender.

Before returning the beef and mushrooms to the pan, I deglazed it with about ½ cup of the broth.


Then I returned the beef to the pan and added in the broth, bay leaf, and finally the barley.




I combined it all and brought it to a boil before reducing the heat and allowing it to simmer for 1½ hours.



It was really tasty and exactly the consistency and flavor profile I was hoping to have.




Beef-Barley Soup

Prep 30 mins ∙ Cook 1 hr 30 mins ∙ Makes Yield: 6-8 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Shannon Stacey


  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 parsnips, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, mixed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into ½” pieces
  • a few dried mushrooms, brushed very clean and finely chopped (optional)
  • 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barley


Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add mushrooms and garlic, cook until golden, then set aside.

Salt and pepper the beef, then sprinkle the chopped dried mushrooms on the beef. Add beef to pan; cook until browned, stirring frequently, then set aside with the mushrooms.

Add the onion to the pan, followed by the carrot, celery, parsnips, and thyme sprigs to pan; season with pepper and cook until the onion is translucent. Add about ½ cup of broth to the pan to deglaze the bottom, then return the beef and mushrooms to the pan. Add in the remainder of the broth with the bay leaf and barley.

Bring the soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-1½ hours or until beef is tender and barley is cooked, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

Paprika Recipe

Snow in April = Stew and Soup

As I watched flurries outside the window this weekend (grr) and viewed my parents posts from warm beaches (grr) I decided that the only positive thing I could do was to warm us all up from the inside. As I prepared my menu for the week on Saturday, I decided on a stew for Sunday and a soup for Monday; both could easily be made on Sunday. As an added bonus I had meat in my freezer which I could use for the effort.

A soccer game for my eldest on Sunday provided the motivation for an early start to the day. As soon as I got back I started making broth for Monday’s Chicken and Mushroom Soup. This is one of the first recipes I learned from my MIL and although I continue to play with it, the core recipe remains and it is a household favorite. It calls for chicken broth, which you can buy, but I prefer to make my own. Whenever I have leftovers from a roasted chicken that I’m not going to use, it goes into the freezer. When I checked on Sunday, I had parts from about 4 chickens and they all went into my largest stock pot. I then filled the pan with water until the chicken was just covered, brought it to a boil, and then covered and simmered for 2 hours. I scooped out the chicken and stripped off all of the good meat onto a plate.

I then strained the broth into containers for freezing, I ended up with ~27 cups! 6 containers of 4 cups each into the fridge and I set the remaining ~3 cups aside for the soup.

I’ll return to the soup later, but my next focus was Sunday dinner, Beer, Beef, and Onions. The easiest way to start is by getting out all of the ingredients. 

 Although after taking the picture I realized the beer I grabbed was an IPA (too bitter) so I swapped it for a fairly basic home brew. 

 There are a lot of onions in this recipe, which are sweet and caramelized by the time you serve them. They cook 30 minutes before anything else even goes in the pot. 

 The recipe calls for a chuck roast (which works very well in the recipe), but among my freezer findings were the trimmings of beef tenderloin (Remember waste not, want not… Rather than buy filet for special occasions, I normally opt for the whole tenderloin which is usually half the price or less. I cut the steaks and then freeze the ends and other chunks.) I had about 3 lbs. of these trimmings which I cut into large chunks, dried well with paper towels, and then seasoned well with salt and pepper. 

 Rather than add the flour all at once it works best to sprinkle on a little bit, stir it in, and then repeat until all of the pieces are coated. 

By this time the onions were happy and I stirred in the garlic (6 for us, we love garlic). 

 The next step is to brown the meat, (don’t try to crowd the pan, it cooks better in batches) and then move the browned cubes on top of the onions. 

 The other ingredients go in EXCEPT the beer and brown sugar and you stir to combine. 

Then the beer, just enough to cover the meat and then put it in the oven for 2 hours, stirring in the brown sugar halfway through. 

On to dessert and a new set of ingredients for a Rhubarb Almond Cake. 

 I was intrigued because it’s made in a tart pan, as I expected from that simple fact, it doesn’t rise much and remains a dense, moist delicious cake. 

Cream the soft butter, vanilla bean, and sugar in one bowl. And process the almonds, flour, salt, and baking powder. 

(P.S. – When a recipe says reserve the pod for another use – my favorite is vanilla sugar. It’s perfect for making vanilla ice cream. or even coffee.) 

 After adding the eggs, and then the dry ingredients you have a very thick batter and the rhubarb is folded in. 

Once it’s in the pan, the topping is strips of rhubarb and sugar and then I popped it in the oven with the stew. 

 I also started boiling some redskins for mashed potatoes. 

Back to the soup…it calls for 1 lb. of mixed mushrooms. You should use what you like and know that anywhere between 1-1½ lbs. will work. I used to make it with just white mushrooms now it depends on what looks good and what I’m in the mood to eat. For this meal, it had dried morels (reconstituted), baby bellas, white, and shiitake, in total closer to the 1½ lbs.  

  I reserve the “broth” from the reconstituted dried mushrooms after filtering out the silt. 

 The caps are cooked first in butter and lemon juice. 

 After setting those aside, the stems go in with the onion until they are soft. I also tend to start adding pepper here so that the flavor is throughout the soup. 


  After stirring in the flour the broth (chicken and mushroom) is added slowly to form a thick broth. 

 Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and blend it with an immersion blender until it’s smooth. Since I wasn’t serving until Monday, I let it cool at this point and then stirred in the mushroom caps, cream, and chicken. When I was ready to serve it on Monday I brought it to a boil and then reduced the temp to keep it warm. 


I then started to sear diced red onions and added in the green beans when they were crispy, seasoning well with salt and pepper. 

And I mashed the potatoes with about a ½ stick of butter, the remaining Greek yogurt from the cake, a bit of heavy cream, and salt and pepper.  


  Beer Beef And Onions

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Tested and Approved!
Prep 2 hours ∙ Cook 3 hours ∙ Makes Makes 6 To 8 Servings ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Shannon Stacey


  • 2½ pounds onions, sliced
  • ½ cup canola oil, divided
  • 2-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast, boneless, cut in 1½” cubes
  • 1½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp steak sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves, dried
  • 18-24 ounces beer, bottled, not dark
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar


Cook onions in 2T. oil in a a 6-8 quart oven-proof pot over moderate heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned (~30 minutes). Add garlic, stir and cook 5 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Pat beef dry then toss with flour. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown beef in batches then add to onions as done (add additional oil to skillet if necessary.

Add all remaining ingredients except beer and sugar and stir to mix. Add beer until it just covers beef and onions. Bring to a simmer then braise in the oven for 2 hours. After 1 hour add brown sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.  

Rhubarb-Almond Cake

Cakes, Cheesecakes, Desserts

Prep 40 minutes ∙ Cook 2 hours ∙ Makes Yield 8 servings ∙ Source Epicurious.com


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for pan
  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks, trimmed
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Special equipment:
  • One 11×8″ tart pan or one 9″-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.


Preheat oven to 350°. Butter tart pan and sprinkle with sugar, tapping out excess. Slice rhubarb in half lengthwise (quarter if very large). Set 8 of the prettiest pieces aside for the top of the cake; chop remaining rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces. Pulse flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until almonds are finely ground (texture should be sandy).

Place 1 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; reserve pod for another use. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to blend first egg before adding second. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, followed by yogurt. Beat, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed, just to combine (batter will be thick). Fold in chopped rhubarb and scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter and arrange reserved rhubarb over top; sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.

Place tart pan on a large rimmed baking sheet (to catch any rogue juices) and bake, rotating once, until cake is golden brown and rhubarb on top is soft and beginning to brown, 70–80 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool before removing from pan.

Do ahead: Cake can be baked 3 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Soup

Entrées, Poultry, Soups Stews etc., Tested and Approved!

Cook 35 to 40 minutes ∙ Difficulty Medium


  • 1-2 pounds chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion, small, sliced thinly (or 1 leek)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound mushrooms , white is delicious, add morels or others for a twist
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


Trim tough stems of mushrooms; remove stems and set aside. Slice mushroom caps thinly.

In a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat, in hot butter, cook sliced mushrooms and lemon juice until mushrooms are just tender, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; with a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms to a bowl.

In the same pan, cook onion and stems until onion is tender. Stir in flour until blended; cook 1 minute stirring the mixture constantly. Gradually stir in broth and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.

With an immersion blender, blend until smooth and then stir in salt, pepper, cream, shredded chicken, and mushroom slices; reheat until soup is boiling. 


This recipe is best if you have leftovers on a roasted chicken. Boil it for broth and strip the chicken.

If not, use 2 whole breasts, just cover with water to cook the chicken and reserve the broth. If using this method add enough water (and bouillon) to the broth at the end to make 3½ cups.

If an immersion blender is not available, a traditional blender can be used, but it is necessary to do it in 2 batches.


Beef and Guinness Pies (with Chocolate?)

I have mentioned before that we are suckers for pot pies around here. With me having time this weekend and about to embark on three weeks of work travel and college visits that overlap St. Patrick’s Day and well beyond, I had to do my honorary cooking with beer in advance of the holiday. This recipe caught my husbands eye, mainly because it was pot pie, but also because of the chocolate. I made a few edits before I even got started and I’ve made another below. 

Skip the chocolate. Such words never uttered in this house; I’ll modify. Eat the chocolate while you cook and don’t put it in the stew. 

Ultimately these are really good and one of the advantages is you don’t need an expensive cut of meat. With the amount of time to make the stew the meat literally falls apart. 

I also had time to make dinner for Tuesday, but I’ll leave that for another day. 

I started with my prep work. I got all of my ingredients out and then started in on the veggies. 


And then  moved onto the beef; it’s really important to trim it well. This was about 1¾ lbs. and I trimmed off just under ½ lb.  


I also prepped the ingredients for the Green beans with dill; pretty easy, rinse both and chop the dill.  

With 5 minutes left on the pot pies, I heated up the pan for the green beans, warmed some olive oil in the pan, and then added the beans seasoning them well with salt and pepper. 


I turned them with tongs regularly and after the pot pies were out and resting, I added in the dill. 

Time for dinner.  


Ok, each of these pot pies fed two people – yes including male teenagers. Depending on your crowd you could make 6 of these in smaller pie pans, you would need an extra sheet of puff pastry. 

And for dessert Ina Garten’s lemon bars – perfect (do not alter). 

Beef and Guinness Pies (with Chocolate?)

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Not Shared, Recipes To Try

Prep 45 minutes ∙ Cook 3 hours 45 minutes ∙ Makes 4 pies ∙ Source Detroit Free Press | March 13, 2016


  • 1½ lbs. beef chuck, trimmed cut into 1′ cubes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 shallots, peeled chopped
  • 12-16 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1⅔ cups Guinness Draught or extra stout
  • 1-2 cups unsalted beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
  • 1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate or dark chocolate (optional)
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Special Equipment:

  • Four 6″ pie tins or 10 oz. ramekins


Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towel. In a large bowl, toss the beef with 2 tablespoons flour, kosher salt and black pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.  

Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides; transfer to a plate. Repeat, using another tablespoon of oil and remaining beef. 


If needed, add another tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the shallots, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and celery.  

Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme sprigs. 

Return the beef to the pot. 

Add the Guinness and enough beef broth so the entire mixture is completely covered.  

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Once the beef is done, strain the cooking liquid into a large glass measuring cup. You should have 2-3 cups. Return the beef and vegetables to the pot, discarding the thyme.


In a saucepan melt the butter. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons flour to form a smooth paste. Whisk in ½ cup cooking liquid over medium heat.  

Gradually whisk in the rest of the strained cooking liquid and simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. If using, add the chocolate and stir to melt.  

If the sauce is too thick add more stock or Guinness. Pour the sauce over the beef and vegetables and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one sheet of the thawed puff pastry into about a 14″ square. Cut to two circles large enough to fit in the bottom and up the sides of the pie tin or ramekin, about 8-inches. Cut out two circles that will fit the top. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry sheet. Evenly spoon the beef mixture into the pastry-lined pie tins or ramekins using about 1¼ cups each.  

Top with the 6-inch circle and pinch the edges together to seal. 

Cut 2 diagonal slits in the top center. Brush the pastry with the egg. Place the pies directly on the lower oven rack. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Let rest a few minutes. Serve directly in the pie tin or invert onto a plate. 


Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

The chocolate adds nothing and takes away from the pepper – SKIP IT!

Lemon Bars

Cookies, Desserts, Recipes To Try

Cook 30-35 minutes ∙ Makes 9x13x2 inch pan ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Ina Garten | Food Network


For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 eggs, extra-large, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest, grated, from ~3 lemons
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preparation: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make crust: Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and creamy. 



Add in flour and salt and mix on low until just combined. Gather into a ball and flatten the dough with floured hands (or cover and press with plastic wrap) and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.


Chill for at least 30 minutes. Bake crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.To make filling: In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. 



 Pour mixture over crust and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.


Dust with confectioner sugar and cut to squares to preferred size.

Weeknight Meals


When I made my menu this past week, the one thing I wanted on it was burgers; it’s finally gotten cold here in Michigan and neither the grill nor I are fond of it. My husband got me a cast iron grill pan for Christmas so it was time to break it in. I really have been trying to add  more salads to our meals and with burgers in my head my thoughts when to other summer favorites. Asian Cole slaw came to mind; I haven’t had it in years since that little packet of “seasoning” is horrible, all salt and preservatives. I decided that someone must have solved this dilemma and set to finding an alternative.

I’m very thankful for another blog I came across, GimmeSomeOven; she solved it. I only made one intentional change: bagged Cole slaw kits don’t look appetizing to me so I shredded cabbage and carrot. I also made an unintentional change, I forgot to add the edamame in my haste.

Last, I had some leftover mac & cheese, that I modified when I made it. It was a stir and serve type of recipe and I strongly favor baked macaroni and cheese; at least in this house no one complained.

I told the boys I wanted bacon burgers and asked if they had any opinions, I got one, “can we add green onions and pepper jack cheese too?”

I started with the peppered bacon; I bake it to avoid the mess. Lay out in a single layer, place the tray in a cold oven, set the oven to 400, and bake for 12-20 minutes depending on the thickness. 
Then I formed the burgers, after a quick peek in the fridge, I put salt, pepper, garlic powder, chopped green and red onions, and barbecue sauce in them.

I then set to making the slaw, starting with the dressing:

And toasting the noodles and almonds for a nice crunch.
 I tossed it just before we ate. 

and served with a cucumber g&t



I’ve started sharing rides with another family for my son’s Wednesday training, and it has given me more time to do more for dinner. When I planned the menu, I came across a recipe for Caramel Chicken, it’s not as sweet as the name implies; the vinegar, garlic, and ginger add a bit of spice and tartness that makes it delicious. Rather than the asparagus I had on my menu I remembered that I still had some extra cauliflower and broccoli in the veggie drawer which I cut up and roasted. Roasting broccoli and/or cauliflower is fairly easy, on a rimmed cookie sheet drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then add you flavor of choice (I squeezed half of a lemon over the veggies). Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes.


By far the easiest meal on the day of eating; I made it on Sunday. I definitely recommend making this in advance, the potatoes help to thickest the soup as it rests in the fridge, and the flavor become richer. Mine didn’t have any fat to remove, but as I’ve mentioned before, I trim my beef really well.


Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad

Prep 10 mins ∙ Cook 10 mins ∙ Makes About 8 servings ∙ Source Gimmesomeoven.com


Salad Ingredients:

  • ½ cabbage, shredded
  • ½-1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages of ramen noodles, crumbled (discard the seasoning packet)
  • 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and julienned (or diced)
  • ½ cup thinly-sliced almonds
  • ½ cup thinly-sliced green onions (scallions)

Asian Vinaigrette Dressing

  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup honey (or agave)
  • ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch of salt and black pepper


To Make The Salad:

(Optional first step: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread the crumbled ramen noodles and sliced almonds out on a baking sheet, and stir a bit to combine. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the almonds and noodles are slightly toasted and golden. Remove baking sheet, and give the mixture a good stir to toss. Then return it to the oven and toast for an additional 3 minutes. Keep a very close eye on the mixture so that it does not burn. Remove and set aside.)

Add ingredients (including the vinaigrette) together in a large bowl, and toss until combined.

Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (This salad is much better eaten the first day, as the noodles lose their “crunch” the longer it sits, and the avocado may brown a bit.)

To Make The Vinaigrette:

Whisk all ingredients together until combined.

Green Chile Macaroni & Cheese

Prep 45 mins ∙ Cook 30 min ∙ Makes 4-6 ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Food.com | Roaring Fork Restaurant


  • 3 fresh poblano chiles, 1 chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb. macaroni, cooked
  • 4 cups grated cheese (mexican, cheddar)
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • Panko, for topping (optional)


1. Char 2 poblano chile directly over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Transfer to paper bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop chile. Transfer to processor; puree until smooth. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped chile, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add corn; stir 1 minute.

3. Add cream and chile puree, bring to boil. Add cooked macaroni and grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a 9×13″ pan sprayed with nonstick spray and sprinkle with panko. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F.

Caramel Chicken

Makes 4 ∙ Source Bonappetit.com


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2½-3 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken legs and thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 slices ¼”-thick slices peeled ginger
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Cooked white rice (for serving)


Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and, working in 2 batches, cook until golden brown and crisp, 6–8 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Add garlic to pot and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer to plate with chicken. Pour off fat from pot.

Return pot to medium-high heat and add ½ cup water, scraping up browned bits. Add brown sugar; stir to dissolve, then cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and turns a deep amber color, about 4 minutes. Carefully add vinegar (it may bubble up; sugar will crystallize); stir to dissolve sugar.

Add ginger, broth, and soy sauce, then add chicken, skin side up, and garlic.

 Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot; turn to coat. Top with scallions and serve with rice.

Irish Beef Stew

Makes 4 to 6 servings ∙ Source Bon Appétit | March 2001


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1¼ pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6-8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup porter beer
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and cut in ½” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped



Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. 
Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.Meanwhile, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes.

   Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.) Transfer stew to serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Theresa’s Turn

Hello all! I am Shannon’s sister, Theresa. She asked me a while ago to be a guest writer on her cooking blog. I am not much of a writer and my cooking style is very different from Shannon’s. I am more of a traditional cook. My family likes meat and potatoes and pasta. I am bored with their palates. I am working on bringing new recipes into our lives. I started last week by making chicken noodle soup. This probably has a few of you laughing but in this house soups are cream based. It was delicious and went over very well with the kids. A Lady’s Chicken Noodle Soup from Paula Deen. And even though the recipe called for it, I avoided the cream and Parmesan cheese in it. ( I was sick and avoiding dairy). Well today I saw a recipe for Shrimp Creole on Facebook. It may have been a good recipe but I decided to look for recipes from a well known creole cook- Emeril Lagasse. My thoughts in going for it- I would have time to stop at the store, prep, cook, and have it served within one and a half hours. The recipe was full of flavors so that we like so I gave it a whirl. The kids gobbled it up and I personally thought it was delicious. The one thing I did differently was to use canned tomatoes. I think a longer simmering time would allow the flavors to meld more but it was a very good recipe as it was written. And it was so simple! I was able to do a couple of chores during different phases in the recipe.

My sister is my inspiration in trying new and different things, I hope you all continue to read her blog and keep cooking at home!

Paula’s Version
As modified
Emeril’s Shrimp Creole

Paprika Recipe

Stir Fry and Soup

Sundays are for cooking, Mondays are for working my butt off at karate, and eventually Tuesdays are for sitting down for a few to write. Sunday I made meals for both days since yesterday was going to be a cooking impossibility with karate and soccer at the same time. I also made the time to sit down and make a menu for the week; my husband and I were both fortunate to have time off for the holidays this year and so I’ve been lax on the menus, but not the cooking. 

While I was skimming recipes I came across a lamb stir fry. My eldest has a fish allergy and we unfortunately regularly served him Chinese food when he was young and the allergy was mild, we ignored the “I don’t like it claims” not realizing it was actually making him sick. Sadly he is still resistant to eating Chinese food and I don’t get nearly enough stir fry to suit my taste. The reason this caught my eye is because he likes lamb as much as I do; it is a stir fry, but there is nothing Chinese about it, it has a Middle Eastern flair. 

The recipe is pretty good as written, but I strongly recommend a longer marinade than the recipe’s 15 minutes. I cleaned the leg of lamb and then let it marinate in the fridge while I made the soup for tonight’s dinner. It took me about 30 minutes to break down the leg and cut it into stir fry pieces, I’m pretty discriminating when I trim. It was a 3.5 lb. bone-in leg and when done I had about 2.7 pounds of meat so I doubled everything. Along with my son’s fish allergy he also has a tree nut allergy so I deemed the pistachios to be optional and promptly omitted them. 

I served it over brown rice following a Greek salad. 

As mentioned I made soup for Monday while the lamb was marinating. It is a hearty soup, but simple and delicious. I like it with the chicken. I added the sage to the cold soup and then heated in a small pan, one bowl at a time based on our schedules. I topped with crumbled goat cheese (easier with the multiple dinner times) and the pancetta. It also freezes well so the other half is frozen for when I need/want it. 

Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt
Prep 1 hr ∙ Cook 15 mins ∙ Makes 4 ∙ Source Bon Appétit | March 2014

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1½ pound boneless leg of lamb, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into ½” wedges
  • Cooked rice (for serving)
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (optional)
  • Fresh oregano, mint, and/or cilantro leaves (for serving)


Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool, then finely chop. Toss lamb with cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, vinegar, and 2 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 2 hours; return to room temperature prior to coooking.

Whisk yogurt and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook lamb, tossing occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.  

Add onion to skillet and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup water; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and water is evaporated, about 3 minutes.Return lamb to skillet and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

 Serve lamb over rice, topped with yogurt, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and herbs.

Do Ahead: Lamb can be marinated 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Butternut-Corn Chowder

Prep 30 mins ∙ Cook 30 mins ∙ Makes 8 to 10 servings ∙ Source Bon Appétit | November 1999

  • 4 ounces pancetta, sliced ¼” thick and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2¼ pounds butternut squash, roasted, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, roasted
  • 2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies
  • 4½ cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 cups frozen sweet white shoepeg corn (unthawed)
  • ½ rotisserie chicken, shredded (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 4 ounces chilled soft fresh goat cheese, cut into ½” thick rounds


Cook pancetta in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. 

  Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté until just tender, about 4 minutes. Deglaze with wine then add butternut squash, garlic, broth, chilies, and 1 cup of corn; simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. 

 Transfer soup to blender; puree, or puree with immersion blender. Mix in remaining corn; simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix in sage. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with pancetta and cheese.


Roast the squash halves at 350°F for 35 minutes. (Cut it after to make it easy to scoop into the soup.) The garlic can be roasted in a foil packet with a bit of olive oil while you roast the squash, just set it off to the side of the squash.

 Pancetta and soup (prior to adding sage) can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover pancetta; chill. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring pancetta to room temperature and return soup to a simmer before continuing.

Optional: Add shredded roasted chicken with second addition of corn. Also, you can adjust the amount of chipotle to suit your taste.

Chili Verde

OK, I suck, I forgot to take pictues, again.

This recipe however is deserving of a post. I considered making this a couple of weeks ago; the way our schedules worked I put the shoulder roast in the freezer and moved on. Considering this week (busy, cold, windy, and rainy) I pulled it out of the freezer on Sunday and planned it for today. Last night, I cut it up; based on our prefereces I removed as much fat as I could and then tossed it into the crock pot with the other ingredients (not the rice, sour cream, or cilantro) and simply put the insert in the fridge. This morning was easy, I put the insert in the crock pot and set it for 7½ hours. My crock pot switches to warm when the time is up.

For reference, I use jalapeños, but it is good with chilis too, I prefer the heat this way. And the family was split this evening, I did make rice and two of us served it over rice in a soup bowl; sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and cholula are all good toppings. The other two of us used it as a filling for burritos: a large spoonful of pork down the center of a warmed flour tortilla, top with rice, shredded cheese, and cholula, (I also had some sautéed peppers and onions leftover which made it in) then fold in both sides and roll up into a burrito, and finish by searing an a dry skillet. They had their sour cream on the side.

I have some leftovers, I foresee this in a breakfast burrito this weekend.

Chili Verde

Cook 3½ – 8 hours ∙ Makes 6-8 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy

  • 8 ounces roasted diced green chilies (or jalapeños), canned, with their liquid
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1½ tsp salt, plus more, to taste
  • ½ tsp white pepper, plus more, to taste
  • rice, White or Mexican, for serving
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup cilantro, freshly chopped


Put the chilies and their liquid in a slow cooker. Stir in the pork, broth, garlic, oregano, salt, and white pepper. Cover and cook on high for 3½-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.

Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and white pepper. (Note: I also break apart the chunks of meat with my Pampered Chef Mix ‘n Chop – not trying to sell it, it’s just a favorite tool.) Ladle the stew over rice and serve immediately, passing the sour cream and cilantro at the table. Serves 6 to 8.

Travelling Food

Occasionally I need to travel for work and I always feel bad leaving my family to completely fend for themselves. Seriously they won’t starve, my husband can cook and I have taught both of my boys. My concern is that we are a really busy family; this means we all have jobs around the house so that everything gets done smoothly, and dinners are my job. My husband even assures me that I don’t have to worry. This time it’s a little more difficult, normally my in-laws will feed them at least once, typically on Sunday and also provide them with a set of leftovers. This year they are traveling too, so they are on their own. I think they will be set…

Tonight (yesterday by the time I land and this posts) they are having pizza and salad with enough extra ordered to fill lunchboxes with cold pizza all week.

Last week when I made my son’s 17th Birthday Dinner, I made extra (not intentionally, I was following the general rule of 1 pound of meat per person if “bone-in”, although my family would simply tell you that I always cook enough for 4 more people to join us). Rather than use it as any sort of leftover, I decided to freeze the extra, all that my men will need to do is make some rice and a quick veggie and that will be one meal.
Another meal will come from last night’s dinner, Grilled Chicken, Prosciutto, and Swiss Wraps, which I discovered once upon a time looking for things to do with leftover roasted chicken. Aside from my time spent on the chicken (this time I used a whole organic rotisserie chicken), the recipe takes about 15 minutes total including cooking time. A whole chicken is a double recipe, and my normal practice. I don’t often measure any of the ingredients as a touch more or less of any won’t impact the final result. The only exception is the chicken, if you have way too much it will be dry, this is easily corrected, just add more of everything else too.

I also left them with Black, White, and Red Bean Chili, it got a bit cooler this week and chili is a favorite. It’s a tomato-based chili, and uses primarily crushed tomatoes, with just a small amount of tomato paste to add sweetness. I used to really hate it when recipes would call for 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I would have to freeze the rest of the 4 oz. can or find another recipe that also used a little bit or make sure I made a pasta sauce… I just hated to waste the rest. About 6 months ago I let my hate go when I found this product: 

Tomato paste in a tube! Keeps in the fridge, measures well, and no can opener needed. I have seen and used a few different brands, this is just the one that I have right now.

I’ll be in Spain this week, so not cooking, but I will try to post the meals that are unique. One of the nice things about traveling for work is indeed the food. This is my introduction to ingredients and foods that I haven’t tried before. I still follow the rule my mother taught me when I was young, essentially “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, but in our house this also meant when you visit someone, eat what you are served. I extrapolae this when I travel, and try to eat local cuisine.

Grilled Chicken, Prosciutto, & Swiss Wraps

Poultry, Quick Meals, Sandwiches, Tested and Approved!
cook 10 min ∙ makes 4 servings ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source Pampered Chef


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • ½ Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1-1½ pounds chicken, seasoned, coarsely shredded
  • ¼ pound prosciutto, or ½ pound ham, cut in thin slices
  • 6-8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 4 lawash bread, whole-wheat, large (or tortillas or other flatbread)


Combine mayonnaise, garlic, dijon, and capers in medium bowl; mix well. Add chicken to bowl; stir to coat.

To assemble wraps, divide the prosciutto evenly between the four wraps, layering as necessary and leaving a 1″ edge. Top each with ¼ of the chicken mixture and ¼ of the cheese. Fold in sides of tortilla and roll up tightly, burrito style.

Preheat grill pan with grill press (or panini press, Foreman grill) to medium heat. Place wraps in pan; top with press and cook 5 minutes per side or until grill marks appear. Remove wraps from pan; cut in half on a bias and serve immediately.


Warming the tortillas will make them easier to roll up. To warm tortillas, place them between paper towels and microwave on HIGH 30–45 seconds or until warm.

Any leftover chicken will work – the taste will change depending on the spices used when cooking it.

Black, White And Red Bean Chili With Sausage

Entrées, Soups Stews etc., Tested and Approved!
cook 30 minutes ∙ makes 6-8 servings ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source Bon Appétit | March 1993


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds Italian sausages, hot or sweet
  • 1 large onion, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into ½” pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into ½” pieces
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded, chopped (for extra heat, don’t see them)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 42 ounces crushed tomatoes, in puree
  • 15 ounces kidney beans, drained, rinsed
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans, drained, rinsed (white kidney beans)
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sour cream
  • cilantro, fresh, chopped


Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausages and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to plate. Add chopped onion to pan and sauté 5 minutes. Add chopped bell peppers and chilies and sauté 1 minute. Add chili powder and cumin and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and beans. Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to chili and simmer until cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in vinegar. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 day ahead. Cool and refrigerate. Before serving, rewarm over medium heat.)

Spoon chili into bowls. Top with sour cream and cilantro and serve.